Mobile phones

Mobile phones

Contents

If you've bought a mobile phone, it must be:

  • of satisfactory quality;
  • fit for its purpose; and
  • as described.

You can find out more about your rights in the section Introduction to your legal rights.

If there is a problem with the mobile phone

Note that different rules apply depending on whether you bought the item before or after 1 October 2015.

Purchases made before 1 October 2015

Faults before use

If you've bought a mobile phone that is faulty before it has been used, you should be entitled to a full or partial refund. This won't be the case if you had a reasonable opportunity to examine it when buying and the fault was so obvious that you should have noticed it.

Whether you're entitled to a full refund depends on whether you've 'accepted' the phone.

The Sale of Goods Act states that you have a 'reasonable time' to examine goods after purchase before they're regarded as 'accepted' by you. It doesn't specifically state how long a 'reasonable time' is; it depends on factors such as how often you use the item, the type of fault (e.g. whether it's obvious or not) and whether you've continued to use the item despite knowing it has a fault.

If you've accepted the phone, you may be entitled to a repair or replacement. The seller is entitled to refuse either of these if the cost of doing so would be excessive in comparison to the alternative. Whatever solution is agreed, it shouldn't result in undue inconvenience to you.

After a few weeks or less

If you've only had the phone a few weeks before a fault has arisen, you may be entitled to a refund (assuming that you didn't have a reasonable opportunity to examine it when buying and the fault wasn't so obvious that you should have noticed it). This will only be considered as long as the phone hasn't been accepted (see above).

Alternatively, you may request that the phone be repaired or replaced. If the fault is only minor and can easily be put right, it's reasonable to accept a repair. This repair should be completed to a satisfactory standard at no additional cost to you. If the repair isn't carried out to a satisfactory standard, you're entitled to seek a refund.

If you return the phone in the first 6 months from the date of purchase to request a repair or replacement, you don't have to prove that the phone was faulty at the time of sale. There is an assumption that the phone was faulty unless the seller can prove otherwise. If you opt for a refund rather than a repair or replacement, the onus will be on you to prove that the phone was faulty at the time of sale.

After more than a few weeks

If you've had the phone longer than a few weeks or have had a reasonable opportunity to check it, you may be entitled to a repair or replacement. However, this will depend on the circumstances. A repair should be carried out within a reasonable period of time and without causing you significant inconvenience. Any repair should restore goods to a satisfactory condition.

If the phone can't be replaced or repaired

If the phone can't be replaced or repaired economically, you're entitled to a refund. The seller can make a reduction from the price you paid to allow for the use you've had from the phone.

Purchases made on or after 1 October 2015

The right to reject

When you buy a phone that is faulty, you'll be entitled to a full refund so long as no more than 30 days have passed starting on the first day after all the below have happened:

  • You became the owner of the phone
  • It was delivered

You won't be entitled to this if you had a reasonable opportunity to examine the phone when buying it and the fault was so obvious that you should have noticed it or if the seller informed you of the fault before you bought it.

If you request the seller to repair or replace the phone within the 30-day period, then the 30-day time limit will be paused. Once this has been done, you will then have the remainder of the 30-day period or 7 days (depending on which one is longer) to check if the repair or replacement has been successful and decide whether to accept or reject it.

It'll be up to you to prove that there is something wrong with the phone if the seller doesn't accept this.

A refund must be given within 14 days of the seller agreeing that you are entitled to it.

The right to a repair, replacement or refund

If you don't want or aren't entitled to a refund you can request for the phone to be repaired or replaced without being charged for it so long as it won't cause you significant inconvenience.

The seller is entitled to refuse to carry out either of these options if the cost of doing so would be excessive in comparison to the alternative or if it would be impractical.

The item should be repaired or replaced within a reasonable time. A repair should be completed to a satisfactory standard and a replacement should be of satisfactory quality.

In the first 6 months from the date of purchase, when you return the phone to request a repair, replacement or refund, you don't have to prove that it was faulty at the time of sale. There is an assumption that the phone was faulty unless the seller is able to prove otherwise.

Price reduction or refund

You'll be entitled to reject the phone and ask for a price reduction or refund if any of the below apply:

  • the repair isn't carried out to a satisfactory standard
  • the replacement is of unsatisfactory quality
  • the seller refuses to repair or replace the phone because the cost of doing so would be excessive or because it would be impractical
  • the repair or replacement was not provided within a reasonable time or caused you significant inconvenience

You'll be entitled to a price reduction or you can reject the phone, depending on whether you choose to keep it. If you choose to keep it, you can claim a reduction in price, which must be an amount appropriate to your circumstances and could be the whole price.

If you reject the phone then you should get a full or partial refund. This will depend on whether the seller will take any use of the item into account.

If the phone has caused additional expense

If you're out of pocket in any other way, you may be entitled to compensation over and above the price of the phone.

If the seller tries to deny their liability

If you're entitled to a refund, replacement, repair or compensation, it's the seller who must sort out your problem. The seller can't tell you to go back to the manufacturer.

If there is a problem with the network service provider

When you buy a mobile phone, you'll need to be connected to a network.

See Telecommunication networks for more information on how to resolve any problems you might have with the network service provider.

Important points to bear in mind

  • Read the terms and conditions of your agreement with the seller.
  • You have no rights if you simply change your mind (except where you've ordered by telephone, mail order, internet or fax – see Right to cancel a consumer agreement, under Distance selling, for more information.
  • If you bought on credit, you may be able to claim against the finance company. See Introduction to your legal rights for more information.
  • If you choose a contract phone rather than a pre-pay phone, you'll be committed to using a certain network, at a certain tariff for a minimum period of time without any legal right to change tariff or cancel. See Telecommunication networks for more information.
  • The rights mentioned above can't be taken away by terms and conditions written into a notice, receipt, contract, warranty or guarantee.